Netflix is in for a brutal morning: The stock is down 35% in pre-market trading from its $118.84 close yesterday as some influential Wall Street analysts tell investors it’s time to dump the stock following last night’s disappointing earnings report and forecast. Susquehanna Financial Group’s Vasily Karasyov downgraded Netflix to “negative” from “neutral.” He says that it “looks like the nuclear winter scenario is playing out” for the company as “subscriber base expansion in the U.S. appears to be minimal and losses from international launches are weighing on profitability.” The combination will “put to rest the bull case on (Netflix) as we know it.” Janney Capital Markets’ Tony Wible also downgraded the stock to “sell” — and slashed his price target in half to $51. Calling the company’s business model “unsustainable” he says: “Fundamentals are eroding, management credibility is shot, international growth is deteriorating, and margins are imploding. Furthermore, the company’s disclosures support our view that the DVD business accounts for a disproportionate amount of (Netflix’s) profits (82%),” which means investors should look at it as an old-fashioned rental company instead of a digital-age power. Even Netflix supporters are retrenching. Credit Suisse’s John Blackledge cut his target price for the stock to $100 from $240 but is sticking with his “outperform” forecast. “We do not believe the opportunity has changed for (Netflix), we believe the competitive positioning is strong and will look for further inflection points in sub growth and (international) profit progress as catalysts over the next 12 months.”
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